Boys varsity basketball preview: Lowell Red Arrows


First-year head coach of the boys varsity basketball team Kyle Carhart will lead his team against a familiar opponent Tuesday night when the Rangers host the Lowell Red Arrows. Carhart was the head coach at Lowell for five seasons, during which he led the program to new heights; his achievements included Lowell’s first district championship in over 30 years, when the Red Arrows beat the Rangers to claim the title. The Rangers enter this one at 6-3 and 2-1 in conference play. The Red Arrows are 2-6 on the season and come in desperate for a win, as they enter the matchup on a five-game losing streak.

The Red Arrows’ two wins have come against Coopersville and West Catholic, while all six of their losses have come to very good teams. They lost by 5 points to both East Grand Rapids and Godwin Heights and have been close with almost every team on their schedule. They come into this matchup losing their first two games of OK White conference play to two of the best teams in the conference in Northview and Forest Hills Northern.

The Red Arrows are a very balanced team, and they are not afraid to go deep into their bench. The frontcourt is led by Jordan Dent and third-year varsity player Nolan Cusak. Lowell has a very deep backcourt that is led by second-year sophomore point guard Brett Spanbauer, Braden Hamilton, Robbie Snyder, and Gavin Coxon. Andy Anschutz and Trevor Petroelje provide ample depth to the Red Arrows backcourt. Brett Spanbauer will look to get into the lane and find open shooters on the outside as well as his big men down low for easy buckets. 

Last season when these two met the Rangers put a full-court press on Lowell and forced the Red Arrows into a lot of turnovers that led to easy buckets for the Rangers. Junior guards Mitch Wilkinson and Jimmy Scholler won’t be able to create nearly as many turnovers as they did last year, but they can still make life difficult on the Lowell backcourt. Jimmy enters this game averaging a team-high 3 steals per game and Mitch with nearly 7 rebounds a game; both of them, along with senior Josh Wise, are very good on-ball defenders and will try to limit the talented Lowell backcourt.

The FHC frontcourt looks to have a big advantage over that of the Red Arrows. The senior trio of Dan Deindorfer, Jake Ball, and Tate Hallock are combining to score nearly 25 points a game and grabbing close to 20 rebounds a game. Dan is a matchup nightmare for the opposition, and the Rangers will look to him early to score and get the Lowell front line in foul trouble. Jake has been a rebounding machine of late for the Rangers, as he has collected 8, 12, and 7 rebounds in his last three games, respectively. Tate has been a big spark recently for the Rangers, coming off the bench in his last three games since being out for a while with a knee injury. He is averaging 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists a game. His versatility has been a big key to the Rangers’ recent success.

The biggest key to this game may be the Rangers’ depth. Having to deal with the injuries of two starters in Josh Wise and Tate Hallock may have been a blessing in disguise for the Rangers. Seniors Jake Ball and Jay Shields have stepped into the starting lineup admirably, and senior guard Tom Tomsheck, as well as sophomore big man Jacob Ervin, played big minutes for the Rangers. With Josh and Tate both back and coming off of the bench, the Rangers have a solid nine-man rotation. If FHC can get the kind of bench production against Lowell that they’ve gotten lately, the Rangers should have a great chance to win and improve to 3-1 in league play.